AI Technology

BERT-of-Theseus: Compressing BERT by Progressive Module Replacing

Researchers propose a novel model compression approach to effectively compress BERT by progressive module replacing.

Content provided by Wangchunshu Zhou, co-first author of the paper BERT-of-Theseus: Compressing BERT by Progressive Module Replacing.

What’s New: In this paper, we propose a novel model compression approach to effectively compress BERT by progressive module replacing. Compared to the previous knowledge distillation approaches for BERT compression, our approach leverages only one loss function and one hyper-parameter, liberating human effort from hyper-parameter tuning. Our approach outperforms existing knowledge distillation approaches on GLUE benchmark, showing a new perspective of model compression.

How It Works: It works by progressively substitutes modules of BERT with modules of fewer parameters. Our approach first divides the original BERT into several modules and builds their compact substitutes. Then, we randomly replace the original modules with their substitutes to train the compact modules to mimic the behavior of the original modules. We progressively increase the probability of replacement through the training. In this way, our approach brings a deeper level of interaction between the original and compact models, and smooths the training process.

Key Insights: Jointly training with module replacement may be a promising approach for compressing large neural network models.

Anything else: Applying this model compression approach for ResNet-like models is interesting.

The paper BERT-of-Theseus: Compressing BERT by Progressive Module Replacing is on arXiv.


Meet the authors Canwen Xu, Wangchunshu Zhou, Tao Ge, Furu Wei and Ming Zhou from Wuhan University, Beihang University and Microsoft Research Asia.

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1 comment on “BERT-of-Theseus: Compressing BERT by Progressive Module Replacing

  1. Great explanation, even I who have no clue what BERT-s are can kind of follow!

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